Will the iconic Kirkbride Building, the centerpiece of what remains of Greystone Park, be saved from the wrecking ball?
According to state senators senators Joe Pennacchio and Anthony Bucco there might be a way.
The senators introduced legislation on Thursday to limit the sale of remaining parts of the Greystone property that is owned by the state. The legislation also calls for the land to be maintained as open space, “showing that there are creative ways to preserve land in New Jersey that don’t involve mass spending measures,” according to a release.
“We have already made great progress turning the Greystone property into open space for future and current generations to enjoy,” said Pennacchio, whose offices are in Pine Brook. “This bill will assure that process continues and the remaining land is protected as well.”
The senators’ bill states that remaining Greystone property owned by the state and declared as surplus can only be sold to Morris County. Morris County is limited to using the property for the following purposes: recreation, conservation, historic preservation, farmland preservation and associated public services.
“This legislation we’re introducing today shows that in tough economic times there can be creative land preservation solutions at local levels that don’t always involve initiating mass spending measures,” said Republican Budget Officer Bucco. “Leaders of New Jersey recognize that open space is a big issue in our most-densely populated state, and our Department of Environmental Protection has dedicated tens of millions of dollars to preserve land. Property taxpayers also fund significant open space programs at county and local levels.”
“By officially restricting the sale and use of the rest of the state-owned Greystone property and allowing its conveyance only to Morris County we can assure that future administrations won’t try to develop the land,” Pennacchio said. “Coupled with the current park, this added land will create an oasis for future generations to enjoy.”
The Greystone has been a hot bed of controversy since a decision to deolish the remaining buildings came with a $50 million demolition price tag. The decision came after Gov. Chris Christie announced plans in late 2011 to remediate and convert Greystone Park in Parsippany—about 165 acres. The park includes a sewage treatment plant, wetlands and the original psychiatric hospital, which closed in 2008.
Up until this point, the state's plan was to demolish the rest of the buildings, despite having received six formal expressions of interest from private groups, which are looking to redevelop the decaying Kirkbride Building
Several nonprofit organizations also expressed interest in the site, and last month a few approached the Parsippany township council to plead their case.